Microbial production of lactic acid

Biotechnology Letters
Mark A Eiteman, Subramanian Ramalingam

Abstract

Lactic acid is an important commodity chemical having a wide range of applications. Microbial production effectively competes with chemical synthesis methods because biochemical synthesis permits the generation of either one of the two enantiomers with high optical purity at high yield and titer, a result which is particularly beneficial for the production of poly(lactic acid) polymers having specific properties. The commercial viability of microbial lactic acid production relies on utilization of inexpensive carbon substrates derived from agricultural or waste resources. Therefore, optimal lactic acid formation requires an understanding and engineering of both the competing pathways involved in carbohydrate metabolism, as well as pathways leading to potential by-products which both affect product yield. Recent research leverages those biochemical pathways, while researchers also continue to seek strains with improved tolerance and ability to perform under desirable industrial conditions, for example, of pH and temperature.

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